including Rockefellers, and investors pledge $50 billion
fossil fuel divestment
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[September 22, 2014] WASHINGTON
(Reuters) - The Rockefellers, who made their vast
fortune on oil, and other philanthropies and high-wealth
individuals on Monday will announce pledges to divest a
total of $50 billion from fossil fuel investments.
The Global Divest-Invest coalition will announce new pledges and
members one day before 120 heads of state address the United Nations
on how their countries will contribute to a global effort to halt a
dangerous rise in temperatures.
Since the divestment movement launched three years ago, some 650
individuals and 180 institutions, including 50 new foundations,
which hold over $50 billion in total assets, pledged to divest from
fossil fuels over five years using a variety of approaches.
One of the signatories is the Rockefeller Brothers Fund. Stephen
Heintz, an heir of Standard Oil tycoon John D. Rockefeller, said the
move to divest away from fossil fuels would be in line with his
“We are quite convinced that if he were alive today, as an astute
businessman looking out to the future, he would be moving out of
fossil fuels and investing in clean, renewable energy,” Heintz said
in a statement.
Since January 2014, commitments by campuses, churches, cities,
states, hospitals, pension funds, and others in the United States
and abroad doubled, from 74 to 180, according to philanthropic
giving consultancy Arabella Advisors.
One of the higher profile education institution divestments came in
May, when Stanford University said it will no longer use any of its
$18.7 billion endowment to invest in coal mining companies.
While some smaller liberal colleges have made divestment
announcements, some larger institutions have been reluctant.
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The University of California voted last week to maintain its
investments in fossil fuels, frustrating a student-led effort to
divest its portfolio in oil, natural gas and coal.
South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu, an anti-Apartheid figure who
has been a strong voice on the need for economic divestments, will
add to Monday’s announcements in a recorded video announcement in
which he will call for a freeze on all new fossil fuel exploration.
“We can no longer continue feeding our addiction to fossil fuels as
if there is no tomorrow, for there will be no tomorrow,” he said.
(This story has been refiled to fix spelling of 'heir' in fourth
(Reporting By Valerie Volcovici; Editing by Michael Perry and Bill
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